The rustic smell of my beloved province, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, which is also my parents’ hometown, brings back fun memories of summer vacations I had during my childhood. It’s a different vibe and feel since the air smells fresher in rural areas compared to the urbanized city I currently reside in.
I remember those moments when we had to wake up every day, very early in the morning before the sun rises. A walkathon from my mom’s maiden house down to the nearest beach almost became a daily morning habit for my mom, siblings, my aunt and cousins.
And the good thing about waking up at dawn? We were not only having our early morning walking exercise, we also got the chance to witness a beautiful sunrise especially when we reached the seashore! For me seeing the sunrise first thing in the morning was one of the most memorable childhood moments I had. And it excited me all the more when I already heard and saw the slow gushing of the beach waves. It meant we can now get ourselves wet and swim. And that for us was already an achievement after our walk trip.
Being so young then just made me enjoy the thrill of swimming and playing in the beach. At first I was scared of going farther since the water gets deeper and the waves can be so high. But my mom kept encouraging me to stand tall when the waters become deep for me to reach. Then I would jump and just go with the flow as the waves come after us. And when I finally got it, I was overjoyed to have overcome my fear. When I felt like being pushed down because of the waves, I tried to swim forward and find my way up.
Because we swam often in the beach, I learned to swim in my own way. I watched my mom doing a frog style swimming and then I would imitate her after. In the beginning I was wondering if I did it right but as days went by I know I did but only for a very short time. Then surprisingly I learned floating which up to now still amuses me since I would most often float after swimming a lot and then paddle my way backwards.
And the best learning was when I finally had enough guts to swim under water knowing how I dislike soaking my face too long in the seawater. I especially found it personally fulfilling when I knew I can swim much farther than I imagined it to be.